WASHINGTON, D.C. - A Maryland man has been arrested on charges of providing material support to Lashkar-e-Taiba, a designated foreign terrorist organization, Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher of the Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Paul McNulty of the Eastern District of Virginia announced today.
Ali Asad Chandia was arrested on the evening of Sept. 15, 2005, at his home in College Park, Maryland. Chandia is scheduled to make an initial appearance today at U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virgnia, and his arraignment is scheduled for Sept. 23, 2005.
Chandia and another defendant, Mohammed Ajmal Khan of Great Britain, were charged in a four-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia on Sept. 14, 2005. The indictment was unsealed upon Chandia's arrest.
Chandia's arrest and the indictment are a continuation of the “Virginia Jihad” investigations in Northern Virginia. Those investigations have led to 10 convictions to date, including the conviction of the spiritual leader of the Virginia Jihad network, Ali Al-Timimi.
The indictment charges both defendants with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2339A; providing material support to terrorists, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2339A; conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2339B; and providing material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2339B.
The maximum sentence for each of the charges contained in the indictment is 15 years in prison.
The indictment alleges that Chandia and Khan conspired to provide - and provided - material support to Lashkar-e-Taiba, both before and after it was designated as a foreign terrorist organization in December 2001. It is alleged that Chandia met Khan at an office of Lashkar-e-Taiba in Pakistan in late 2001. Khan was allegedly a senior official with Lashkar-e-Taiba who acted as a procurement officer for the group.
Khan allegedly traveled to the United States in 2002 and 2003 to acquire equipment for Lashkar-e-Taiba, with assistance both times from Chandia. Khan is currently in custody in Great Britain on terrorism charges.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David Laufman from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia and Trial Attorney John Gibbs of the Counterterrorism Section of the Criminal Division at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. The investigation was conducted by agents of the Washington and Baltimore field offices of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
An indictment is merely a formal way of bringing charges against an individual. All persons charged with a crime are presumed innocent until proven guilty.